Is there any part of the planet that's sexier than the Caribbean? Just close your eyes for a moment and allow your mind to create a soothing dreamscape ... imagine long strips of virgin beach dotted with the purest white sand, water so clear you can see the bottom 50 yards from the shore, palm fronds undulating with the occasional gust of a warm mellow breeze, large tropical drinks served with multiple shots of 100-proof rum and slices of fresh mango, some old beach bum with skin scorched to crocodile toughness by a life under the sun strumming a soulful calypso tune on a cheap guitar ...
Whoops. Sorry about that. I got lost for a minute inside my own dreamscape, which involved getting a twilight back rub in a swaying hammock by a nubile young ... well, never mind. Where were we?
Oh yes, we were talking about the Caribbean. Did you know that there is a popular poker variation based on that magical set of planetary coordinates? Yup, and if you guessed that this game is called Caribbean Stud, you would be right.
Come to think of it, that's what the nubile gal in my dreamscape was calling me as she rubbed cocoa butter on my shoulders. Oh hell, forget it.
Caribbean Stud is a casino table game that is quite similar in its structure to 5-Card Stud poker. Rather than testing your skills against other players at the table, in Caribbean Stud all bets are made against the house. There is no bluffing or other form of deception in this game. Also, there is only one hand allowed per player. Players can not hold or wager on multiple hands at the table. As in most forms of poker, Players are not allowed to share information regarding their hands to other players or the dealer.
After the initial ante, each player and the dealer receive 5 cards, face down. The dealer turns over one of his cards, then pushes the cards toward the players, after which the players have the opportunity to look at the cards in their own hands.
At this point, players have the option to play or fold. If they choose to play, they place their bets (twice the original ante) in the bet box. If they choose to fold, they forfeit the ante. After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals his hole cards. If the dealer 'qualifies' (has an Ace / King or better) he pays even money to hands that beat his. If he does not have qualify then all remaining players collect even money on the ante.
There are some poker enthusiasts who dismiss this game, saying it lacks the action of other poker variations. These folks also dislike the fact that no bluffing is allowed. To each his own, but it seems to me that this outlook misses the basic allure of the Caribbean. The whole point is to chill out and enjoy yourself. Why get uptight? After all, it's just a game. And there's rum-drinking / bikini contest on the beach at sunset, so relax.